Image © Kelli Seeger Kim
Today’s sentence: “Watch the edge!”
This is what mum screamed when we went to see the valley from the magnificent lookout above it.
Leo was one to take things to an extreme and mum was worried he might get too close to the edge and topple over. So, her repeated “Watch the edge” echoed around the lookout the entire time we were there.
It was true to say Leo drove mum to the edge of her patience most days, but she was extremely paranoid about him doing something that would not only injure himself but inconvenience her.
Leo was one of those people who saw edges as challenges, something to be attempted and hopefully mastered. No matter what, he could be seen maneuvering his way along the edge of the carpet, the edge of the landing on the back veranda in fact anywhere an edge was evident.
His antics only increased Mum’s anxiety and there were times when I am sure she was at the end of her tether when she’d turn around and find him standing on some precarious edge somewhere.
On the day in question, Mum had insisted we all keep an eye on him as she wanted to have a day free of incident and unnecessary danger.
The trouble was you could just see Leo’s eyes light up at the prospect of exploring the lookout and getting on the wrong side of the safety fence was his first priority.
Mum saw the look on his face and immediately rounded him up, grabbed his hand and held on firmly as we approached the fence above the valley. The view was spectacular, and she was as mesmerized as everyone else by the vista before us. The trouble started when she let go of his hand to take out her camera, her focus was on the view, and she wanted to capture it.
Leo, suddenly aware of his freedom scarpered over the fence and before any of us realized he was on the edge looking down.
This was too much for mum who screamed: “Watch the edge” before running over to the fence and imploring Leo to come back. In those days mum wasn’t fit enough to climb the fence herself, but I think she gave it serious thought.
Leo by now had arrived at the edge and was looking down when my older brother scaled the fence and ran over to him. Leo took a step away from him and moved closer to the edge where his foot slipped in the loose stones, and he went over the edge.
Mum screamed hysterically, and it was at that moment chaos took over.
My brother arrived at the edge and looked over, mum had out her phone and was dialling the emergency services, screaming incoherently that her son had fallen over the edge of the lookout, my younger sisters were all in unison with mum, crying and screaming and at the same time several other visitors to the lookout were offering mum comfort, all the good that that did.
My older brother lay on his stomach and peered over the edge and called that he could see Leo a few feet below him. There was a small ledge, and Leo had fallen onto it.
My brother reached out a hand and grabbed Leo and hauled him back up to the top of the lookout.
Mum by now beside herself with potential grief grabbed Leo as he was lifted over the fence and held him closely to herself telling him he could have been killed.
Leo’s antics did put a dampener on the day, Mum immediately ordered us all back to the car and as we drove off made it clear we would be continuing our day out at the local park where everything was flat and the edges, not life-threatening.
Leo oblivious to the excitement he had caused sat in the back telling us it was a long way down at the lookout and when were we going to visit it again.
Needless to say, Mum was not impressed.